Biblical Authority

Janet Aucoin April 19, 2024

Christians can often be tempted to bristle underneath the authorities God has given us. It can be hard to submit to certain authorities in our lives, and sometimes it can be hard to discern how far submission should go.

This week, Janet and Jocelyn discuss a biblical basis for authorities and submission–not only in marriage, but throughout the Christian life.

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Episode Transcript



⁠Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood - John Piper and Wayne Grudem⁠

⁠Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction - Kevin DeYoung⁠


⁠Complementarianism A Moment of Reckoning Part 1 - Jonathan Leeman⁠

⁠R. Albert Mohler Jr. on the State of Complementarianism - Albert Mohler⁠

⁠Essential and Indispensable: Women and the Mission of the Church - Jonathan Leeman⁠

⁠Authority: God’s Good and Dangerous Gift - Jonathan Leeman⁠


⁠Unjust Suffering - Joyful Journey⁠

⁠Loving Their Soul - Joyful Journey⁠




⁠Read Through the Scripture Challenge 2024


Jocelyn: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Janet: I just want to make it as totally simple as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Well, welcome back. This is Janet here once again with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hey, friends.

Janet: And today we're discussing a topic that I think is necessary for a variety of reasons, but we're gonna be talking about the beauty of Biblical authority.

Jocelyn: I'm excited for this topic.

Janet: Yes, and I think it's needed for a lot of reasons. One thing is we certainly have cultural pressure to eliminate all authority.

Jocelyn: That's true.

Janet: Especially within marriage. And our culture is demanding. If you think about it, we're gonna replace all of authority with what?

Jocelyn: Different authority.

Janet: I mean, that's what it's gonna be. Yes. Yes. And. I think that's in part because there is a sinful inclination of those who are in authority. And when we talk about marriage, that specifically applies to husbands.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Who are using that to their advantage at the expense of their wives or whoever's under their authority.

Jocelyn: I mean, you can really see that all throughout history, people get an authority and then they use that authority to squish the people underneath them or to manipulate them or force them to do something.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like all, all over history you can see that.

Janet: And then you can understand why the culture's saying, get rid of all authority.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Just abolish it.

Janet: But it doesn't work. And then there is authority.

Jocelyn: Then you have to have something that

Janet: yeah

Jocelyn: Organizes your society.

Janet: So we have the Bible.

Jocelyn: So we have the Bible.

Janet: And it gives us a clear and hopeful path to a gospel centered authority and problem-solving. And I know even on a personal level, I've struggled with that as well. I, for many years feared being under authority. And I didn't really initially know how or even have a desire to wield authority for the benefit of others. I don't even know that I'd consciously seen that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I remember not long after my son was born, we had been married a few years at that point. And a new fear started for me. It was what's gonna happen if Brent ever gets sinfully angry with our kids? Like, what am I gonna do if he says, I'm gonna go beat the tar outta him. What do I do with that? And of course, what did I do? I went and asked Brent, what am I supposed to do? Do you ever act like that? I said to him, do I submit? Do I just trust God? And this concept, the reason I share that example, is this concept really helped me. He helped me understand the limits of authority.

Jocelyn: That's helpful.

Janet: Yes. Yes. When he was acting on a desire to hurt our son. He was already act acting outside of his authority. And the minute someone's outside their authority, I don't have to follow him. What I needed to do is protect my son, even if it put me in harm's way, even if it made my husband so mad at me that he beat me instead. I can do that. And that's not unsubmissive because if Brent were like that and he's not, if he were like that, he's already outside his authority. So understanding that, that there are limits of all human authority. That really helped me because in a broken world we see that all the time.

Jocelyn: Oh yeah, definitely.

Janet: So in general, submitting feels like we're giving something up. And we become very vulnerable.

Jocelyn: That's true.

Janet: And if I don't understand the limits, then I think I just have to do whatever he says no matter what. And that's a scary place to be's.

Jocelyn: Very scary.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I think one of the reasons I was excited for us to talk about this topic is because my view and interaction with authority has really changed over time. Early on in our marriage, I was very distrustful of authority for a bunch of different reasons. I was not quick to submit and trusting authority was really super hard.

Janet: Yeah, yeah.

Jocelyn: But as time has gone on and over the, you know, we've been married for almost 30 years now, so we've had 30 years of growing and changing biblically. But now I really love authority, I love biblical authority. Because I understand biblically, for instance, with my husband, his job is to lead me . His job is to provide for me and to protect me. And so when I'm. Watching him be that kind of Biblical authority, it's easy to submit to that.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Because his job is to keep me safe and when I let him do his job to be my authority, I am kept safe.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And so I've come to the place where I really, really love authority. I used to chafe against it, and I think I chafe against it less than I used to. I mean, obviously I'm not perfect.

Janet: No way.

Jocelyn: But it's much more easy for me to be like, hey, I need to make a decision. What are your thoughts about this? Or how would you lead me? Or, you know, like, could you help me think through this?

Janet: And I love that. 'cause what you're sharing is when you're under authority that is biblical and understands what their role is. It's to your benefit.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And it's a whole lot easier. And some of us we're gonna talk about and everybody's under that kind.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But I think we gotta take some time to talk about what it's supposed to be.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I love that.

Jocelyn: I think it's really, it's really delightful and I feel very protected. Not like I am like a loose, single person just out there fending off the wolves myself.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Like it's nice to have someone that's looking out for me.

Janet: Excellent. So this episode is not about submission. We've done an episode on that. I commend that to you. But right now we're just, let's talk about the authority end a little bit.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I'm excited to hear what you have to share.

Janet: Well, the first thing I think we really have to say is that it's good.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And you've just said that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But I think for many of us, it's how do I get myself to submit under authority? And I'm always gonna chafe, I just have to do it. It's medicine. But to realize, you know, the Bible talks about authority in a lot of relationships. And just like all of God's principles, it's also part of God's good creation.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And I know we don't talk about authority that way very much, and I think that's in part because we live in a world where not only is authority marred by sin, certainly, but my desire to be under it's also affected by sin.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It's like double bad.

Janet: Yeah. So let's at least talk a little bit about why biblical authority is good. I will try. Probably won't do it perfectly. I will try to differentiate biblical authority means someone who's using their authority as God would have them. Versus. Authority or the world's authority.

Jocelyn: unbiblical. Yeah, that would be helpful.

Janet: Yeah. So we need to start in the Garden of Eden.

Jocelyn: I love starting there.

Janet: I know you do. We were created by God to rule and reign. We know that. Well that's authority. Part of being made in his image was to reign on his behalf over the rest of creation and it was very good.

Jocelyn: That's such a cool concept.

Janet: Yeah. Think about how that might have looked if sin hadn't entered the picture. Here we have Adam and Eve filling the earth with perfect images of God. Lighting up the earth with God's values, and they were ruling, they were using their authority, with God's principles.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I mean, what would some of those principles be?

Jocelyn: Well, right away it would be righteousness because they would only be thinking, what does God say is right and good?

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: So they'd be making decisions with God's thought pattern.

Janet: Completely in line with it.

Jocelyn: Right?

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Like always agreeing with him. The underlying motive would always be love.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: It would always be others focused and service focused. It would be just like unlimited creativity and just so much flourishing because they're thinking and acting and wanting and doing using God's principles to rule them. So they are ruled by God's principles and then consequently they rule over the creation with God's principles.

Janet: Absolutely. And when I think about a phrase, my husband's used this recently in his preaching more than once, and it was just going, I was reading my scriptures today and it was, that concept was all over it. And I think with biblical authority. It's all over it. My life for you.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That's biblical authority.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I am giving all for you. Think about. That would be awesome to be under. We have a couple podcasts we've already done on the subject of our purpose, and I really recommend you listen to those. But the point here is that Eden was meant to be an expanding garden to fill the earth. And man's authority was to be used to bring that about.

Jocelyn: So any piece of authority that someone had was supposed to be for the good of others.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: To bring about God's way of thinking into this world.

Janet: Yes. Yes. And the result of that kind of authority? Order and life. And who wouldn't wanna be under that?

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: I mean, you got a taste of that when your husband makes it his priority as your leader to do what's best for your soul.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And you've already said, it makes me wanna go to work.

Jocelyn: Right. It makes it so easy.

Janet: Instead of why do I have to be under...

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That's silly when the person is there for your good.

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally.

Janet: Yeah. I listened to this quote from Jonathan Lehman. He did a Nine Marks blog about biblical authority I found very helpful, but he says this: biblical authority creates and empowers and arranges and organizes and builds and encourages. This is what God did with his authority. He authored a world. And this is what he means for everyone created in his image to do.

Jocelyn: That's so cool.

Janet: Yeah. The world and its order with its co-Regents, Adam and Eve, it was very good. God's creation had all the structures built in for it to flourish, to be fruitful and multiply. And Adam and Eve were placed in the garden so they could expand it so that his dominion under God would fill the earth. And to do that, it required that Adam and Eve were under God. That Eve was under Adam.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: That children that Adam and Eve would have in the future would grow and adopt this structure and fill the earth with God's glory, mobilizing creation for a flourishing humanity.

Jocelyn: And it's like flourishing is the word. Everything was benefited and grew and was green and was flourishing because it was under God's authority.

Janet: Yes. And so before the listeners go, but that's ridiculous. No. We need to at least see. That's the beauty of it.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And even after the fall, king David understood this. Okay. We can all admit he was not a perfect leader.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: In so many ways. But listen to what he says in 2 Samuel 23. I love this passage. When one rules justly over men ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.

Jocelyn: That's cool.

Janet: I know. Why did I not ever notice that was in the Bible? And I'm like, yeah, authority is a tool to be used to focus on human needs. And to give structures of human flourishing, developing and deploying human resources and exercising just decision-making

Jocelyn: yeah

Janet: in their relationships.

Jocelyn: I mean, that would really be beneficial.

Janet: I know. And it's like, oh. That was the design.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Like that's the plan. And we get to see tastes of this. If you think about that with a little child who has a loving parent . That child feels safer just because their authority is there, because they know that that authority's committed to protecting and nurturing them.

Jocelyn: Absolutely. Yeah.

Janet: And because of that, the child can relax.

Jocelyn: And they feel so safe.

Janet: Have you ever been on a playground

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Where they're running and then they turn around and make sure you're still there, you know? And they're like, okay, you're there. I'm good. I feel free

Jocelyn: yes.

Janet: Because I turned around and saw that you're there. You're not gonna let something bad happen to me. And we all know how devastating it is when it's the parent putting them in harm's way.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Well, that's devastating for many reasons, but it's the exact opposite of what that authority was given to them for.

Jocelyn: I was actually just thinking about that when you were talking about this beautiful standard where everyone flourishes and grows and everyone is taken care of. Like that's so not what the majority of authority in the world looks like.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like think about a king that is bad. I was actually just watching this news story about a dictator in a central American country, like he's so suave and beautiful and he has all these crowds that just adore him. He's still a dictator, like

Janet: right.

Jocelyn: He's using his wonderful authority to hold his people down and to accomplish a bunch of things.

Janet: But with a smile

Jocelyn: that right, he looks cute while he is doing it. Handsome, I guess. But he's like time after time you can see in jobs, with bosses, with presidential leadership, with dictators of the other countries. Like often you take that beautiful capacity to make other people flourish and you point it to yourself.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Like, how can I squish other people and get other people to serve me so that I flourish?

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Which is the opposite of what God designed.

Janet: Exactly. So welcome to the battle of living in a sin-cursed world.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: When I'm the authority, or when I'm under earthly authority, frequently, the goal isn't to reflect God's values.

Jocelyn: Absolutely not.

Janet: It should be, but it's not. So God's values: my life for you, modeled perfectly in Christ. Our values, my life for me. And that's what you just described. I will squish you.

Jocelyn: And even, even, even your life for me. Like everyone's life for me.

Janet: Yeah. Everyone's life for me. Good. Yes. Yes. And in Genesis 11, we see that at the Tower of Babel, let's make a name for ourselves.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So already we're not even outta Genesis. We're not even halfway through Genesis.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And we reversed the purpose of authority, and we're now using it to represent ourselves. And what does that result in? Well, the results are not beautiful.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: Not the flourishing that we talked about.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: It's the opposite of the purpose for which God gave us the right to rule and reign. It's the opposite of why he gave us a measure of his authority.

Jocelyn: His authority. Yeah.

Janet: Now those under authority aren't protected. They're more vulnerable. Now. They're not strengthened. They're fearful.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Now they're not freed to develop the skills God gave them to bless others, but they're more isolated and oppressed. Lehman goes on to say this about the reversal I thought was really interesting. The problems of abuse and male superiority have impacted every time and place since the fall, which you mentioned earlier, Jocelyn, we see it all through history.

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally.

Janet: He says they're bound up in the human condition, and that's not because men are worse than women. It's because every fallen human will use every conceivable point of privilege to their self-righteous advantage, whether wealth, intelligence, beauty, or brute strength. Anyone who denies that both genders will use their advantages to get their way, including the fact that men too often take advantage of or even abuse their wives, is naive. This is every generation's battle. And if you cannot see that, I believe you have a shallower understanding of sin than you realize.

Jocelyn: That's straightforward.

Janet: I know. And I think it's true. And what does the world do if men are using their authority over women wrong, then the answer is free women and give them authority, because they would do it better. But they won't.

Jocelyn: It's still authority and it's going to be misused and God's values will be misrepresented.

Janet: Yep. Yep. So mankind uses authority not to display God's values, which is serving others to our own hurt as Jesus did. But as Lehman says, for self-righteous advantage, the opposite of what they're supposed to do. And this leads to the one in authority is now threatened by the one under authority because they could hinder my ability to get the advantage I want. I need to keep them down, or they may take something from me, which is total opposite.

Jocelyn: Right? It's the exact opposite.

Janet: Yes. You know, in small ways. Brent and I operated that way for the early years of our marriage.

Jocelyn: Oh, us too. We had to be reminded that we were on the same team.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Because we were like, even like someone really close to us was like, wow, it's really annoying to be around. You guys are always arguing about who's best or who's right, or--. Like it was very eye-opening.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like we were definitely not on the same team.

Janet: Yep. Yep. We were competitors. Disagreements have to be won who's gonna get the power? It's not a safe place to be vulnerable and to have weaknesses seen. And women, if we're honest, the one under authority. And in marriage, it's the woman, not always a woman in every circumstance, but in that one, we would do just the same thing if we could. To me, the ultimate example of that's the French Revolution. They were fighting tyranny. They took over and what did they do?

Jocelyn: It created more tyranny.

Janet: Amazing.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yes. That's just what we do. So the one in authority uses those under authority to benefit himself. Again, the opposite.

Jocelyn: And such a summary of why the world is the way that it is. If you don't operate with God's kind of authority, then you will use the people that are underneath you to accomplish what you want.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: It's not gonna be for the flourishing of mankind.

Janet: No. So then the ones under you need to figure out how to get around you. So that you don't notice that they're still getting what they, it's like now we got the whole game.

Jocelyn: It's just so manipulated. Yeah.

Janet: Yep. Yep. We need help outside of ourselves.

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: But first, before we get to that, let's narrow it. I know we all have authority in different areas, but let's talk about a complementarian view of marriage. Complimentarian meaning that we have different roles. And how does authority work within that? Because that's been attacked. What is the ideal? Gospel centered Jesus-like leadership gives protection, opportunity, strength, and freedom. Christ used his authority to meet our greatest need and to promote our flourishing. And when I think about that, there is something in my soul that says, I long for that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: Lehman says it this way in a different article. Godly authority as set down in scripture and as I've witnessed it, is seldom an advantage to those who possess it. It involves leading and making decisions to be sure. Jesus led. But what the Godly leader feels day to day are not the advantages, but the burdens of responsibility, of culpability, of even bearing another's guilt. It's profoundly costly, usually involving the sacrifice of everything. It requires the end of personal desires. Meanwhile, those under that authority often possess most of the advantages. They're provided protection and opportunity, strength and freedom. Isn't all this precisely what we see in Jesus' use of authority.

Jocelyn: That's really beautiful.

Janet: Yes. And it makes me think about the areas where I'm an authority. Is that how I'm using it?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: You know, because all of us in one capacity or another have the opportunity to be some kind of an authority.

Jocelyn: It's true. And I think that point needs to be emphasized. Like we're not only talking about marriage here, we're talking about authority.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Just in general, biblical authority. Like if you have authority in your work position, this applies to you.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: If you have it in your community, this applies to you. There's so many different ways where we are often in a position of authority and we have to ask, are we gonna bless the people that are under us?

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Are we gonna use them to our advantage?

Janet: Yes. Is it the do you know who I am?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Thing or not? Yes. Are you a parent? Are you a manager? Are you the hall monitor at school? How do you use that authority? Are you coordinating a ministry or an event? Are you teacher? Are you mentoring? Are you counseling? In all of that, our job is to create and manage structures of flourishing. Well, is that how we use our authority?

Jocelyn: This reminds me so much of when my kids were like seven or eight years old. They were old enough to know that they had to obey. And I would use it selfishly all the time. Like, oh, could you please go get me this? Oh, could you please run upstairs?

Janet: Oh, funny.

Jocelyn: And I was so convicted of it. Like, what? They're not your little servants. But it's easy as parents

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: To get into that mode where you're like, they have to obey me. So. I'm going to make it worth my while.

Janet: Yeah. I mean, and they've got, it's easier for them than me. My back hurts and they're younger and all the things.

Jocelyn: They're little, they have lots of energy.

Janet: But think about that. And I know we caught it and most of us do that as parents, but what are we teaching our kids that authority is?

Jocelyn: Oh yeah. You use other people. Use the little people.

Janet: It makes me think about when Josh was little and he was trying to be the authority at some point. I don't remember any of the details, but I remember saying to him, you know, I'll be the mom. And we were in the car and he goes, someday I'll be the dad. And what was he thinking? I'll get the power.

Jocelyn: I'll tell everyone what to do.

Janet: And I'm like, if you understood what biblically that meant, you wouldn't be wishing for that day.

Jocelyn: Especially with that quote that you just read. It's like. It's not that you're wearing all the advantages, it's that the buck stops with you.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like you have to make the decisions.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: You have to keep people safe.

Janet: So if you're like me, you're a mixed bag.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely.

Janet: Given the beauty of the ideal, why don't we do it?

Jocelyn: Why don't we? Why isn't it just perfect all the time?

Janet: I know. Think about even just a typical marriage conflict. There's something that they're trying to resolve. Sometimes the problem is how are we gonna just respond to some circumstance? Frequently it's how can I be happier in my marriage, which equates how could I get you to change? And already our goals are not God's.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: How can I help you flourish? Is not what we're talking about. And then when you add in this dynamic, we're not just friends. There is an authority-submission thing going on. It's a time bomb. But ideally, marriage is the best platform for godly authority to shine. A husband is called to be Christ to his wife. What did Christ do? Laid down his life for her flourishing. A wife is called to respond to her husband as the church should respond to Christ. What a privilege in marriage to have the opportunity to display God's beauty in this way. But right now there is a dangerous satanic force in our society today, a lie from Satan about what equality is. Because I would tell you scripture is clear. We are equal.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: We both bear God's image. We are both created with the purpose of making much of God and displaying his values. But at the same time, our society gives lip service to diversity, the demand is for equality. And when you peel back all the rhetoric, it's really equality of power. Which means they think authority means power for me.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So now we need to have the same power so that we can have the same opportunity and advantage over somebody else. Again, the opposite of what God intended authority structures to be: exercising whatever power and authority you have to serve and benefit others. Biblical equality is rooted in our role as image bearers, male and female. They have the same equal capacity to represent God and his value system. We are equal image bearers and we're different.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: The genders are different. One gender does not always submit to the other. Within marriage, that is true. Outside, there's a variety of things. But since everything God does is good and is best for our souls, we're gonna see the differences in our gender are good. When God made women according to him. According to Adam, the Hebrew word in its essence is opposite. That's why Together they're complete.

Jocelyn: And that's like the point of complementarianism is that the two of us working together are better together.

Janet: Which means we're not exactly alike.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Yeah, exactly.

Janet: Yes. We need both male and female gifts. We need male and female perspectives to be complete. I love how Lehman talks about this in another article. Gender is a gift and an opportunity everywhere. Therefore, Christian discipleship involves inquiring into the nature of that gift. Godly equality feels no threat from God-given roles. It doesn't assume that God's assignments of different stewardships and stations or responsibilities and roles undermines equality. Rather, it views them as so many parts of one body. Each part purposed with doing the work of the whole body.

Jocelyn: That's cool.

Janet: Yeah. So it only follows that in that mindset, women and men are gonna be valued. Husbands will then use their authority to highlight and encourage the indispensable role women have in the story of redemption. Lehmann gives a list of women who God's word lifts up for fighting the effects of sin. He talks about Sarah and Rebecca versus their barrenness. Tamar versus Judah. Jochebed and Miriam versus the Pharaoh. Deborah and Jael versus Cisera. Ruth and Naomi versus death. Hannah versus barrenness. Esther versus Haman. There's so many.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And if you don't know who a lot of those women are, you have a lot of women you get to study.

Jocelyn: Yeah. We're gonna be reading about all of them this year in the Bible.

Janet: It's all there. That's right. 'cause we're reading through it together.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yes. That means husbands will embrace the example of Christ who even though it was an opposition to the leading thinking of his day, even within his own Judaism. Christ invested in training the women who followed him. Lehman states it this way. Jesus welcomed Mary to sit at the Lord's feet and listen to teaching even as Saul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel. According to the strict manner of the law of our fathers. That is valued the same as it was for their leaders. The Bible highlights the witness of women. Leman says, against ancient Near East standards for reliable witnesses, the Bible presents them as the first to testify to the resurrection. I love that.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that's so cool.

Janet: In Romans 16, Paul lists twice as many men as women, but he commends twice as many women as men.

Jocelyn: Oh, that's interesting.

Janet: Isn't that interesting?

Jocelyn: That's very interesting.

Janet: So today, women, and we shouldn't have to say this, but I believe we need to. Women are essential in ministry. Authority, biblical authority, even in marriage where we're talking that husbands have authority over their wives, that gets somehow extrapolated to men are over women and women are not as valuable. So we just have to say what ought to be obvious

Jocelyn: and they have nothing to add. Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. Lehman says this. Women's ministry is essential and indispensable because women possess perspectives and opportunities that men don't. Indeed, if God created us male and female women possess a way of being human that men don't, which means they possess ways of disciple-making that men don't. However we might articulate those differences of being and doing. Men cannot do it all. Both sexes are essential and indispensable. In other words, complementarianism by definition is an argument for including women in ministry, not excluding them as the very word complementarian communicates.

Jocelyn: That's a really cool quote.

Janet: I know.

Jocelyn: I feel very thankful that that was articulated.

Janet: I know, and it's so clear. It's like, how can I be a complementarian and believe

Jocelyn: that women are not valuable and necessary.

Janet: How could that even make sense?

Jocelyn: And especially what he said, like women possess a way of disciple making that men don't. It's not that one is good and the other isn't. It's they're just different.

Janet: We need both.

Jocelyn: We need both.

Janet: Yes, but that's frequently not our experience. And why not? Well. The same sins that show up in other types of authority show up in marriage.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: The same idolatrous responses we already talked about how in general, those in authority reverse their purpose. Well, you see the same thing with husbands and their wives. They begin to operate as if they were superior. Al Mohler says this, and I remember specifically with this quote, I shared it with my husband and he looked at me like, why do we need to say this? Like, isn't this obvious? So he really thought it was a waste, and I'm like, I think we have to say it. I wish we didn't have to say it, but I think we do. Mohler says this, complementarianism does not mean male superiority. It just doesn't. It instead affirms different and distinct roles from men and women in the church and in the home. So it's wrongly understood to imply that every man in the church has authority over every woman in the church. That's simply not true.

Jocelyn: Again, I'm glad that was stated.

Janet: And then well, and it was just cute 'cause Brent's like, of course. It's kind of like saying, do we need a whole quote about the fact that God is perfect? Like we know this. Do. Do I have to say this?

Jocelyn: Water is wet.

Janet: Yes. And and Yeah. Exactly. And I'm like, no honey. I think we have to say it.

Jocelyn: I think we do actually have to say it.

Janet: Even in though the purpose of this is how do we understand biblical authority? I think the way it's been so twisted in some marriages , in Christian marriages, we have to talk about this.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And again, now they're operating on the opposite of godly authority. Husbands have authority. But interestingly, they don't have, this was a concept that Lehman fleshes out. They don't have the authority of command. They have the authority of counsel. Meaning it's not an authority he's given a way to enforce. Which was really interesting. He says this, God gives the state an enforcement mechanism. He calls it the sword. He gives parents of young children an enforcement mechanism, the rod. He also gives the whole congregation such a mechanism, the keys, which ends up being discipline. Husbands and pastors possess true authority because Jesus will hold wives and church members accountable on the last day. But husbands and pastors possess no such moral right from God or authority to enforce their decisions.

Jocelyn: That is very interesting quote.

Janet: Isn't that?

Jocelyn: That is very, is that's from Mohler?

Janet: No, that's from Lehman.

Jocelyn: Oh, yes. Okay.

Janet: And I'll have links to all of these articles in our show notes.

Jocelyn: Wow. That is very powerful.

Janet: I know.

Jocelyn: I've never thought about that before.

Janet: But it's so true.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: When you hear a man saying, I will make her submit, that's not his job. And

Jocelyn: and he has no way,

Janet: he has no authority to do that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: God doesn't give husbands a mandate to require submission, but he requires wives to choose it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I loved how Lehman goes on to say this, the goal is never to force decisions. Forced decisions by wives or church members are worth little.

Jocelyn: I loved how Lehman goes on to say this, the goal is never to force decisions. Forced decisions by wives or church members are worth little.

Janet: Rather, the goal in both cases is to elicit decisions made from love and even attraction. The husband's loving care should prove attractive to his wife.

Jocelyn: And it is.

Janet: And you just described that with your husband.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: That when he leads you like that, you want to be under him.

Jocelyn: We've never been older and uglier than we are right now, but I've never thought that my husband is hotter. Like we are. I love being taken care of by him.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: He's a wonderful authority.

Janet: Yes. Kevin DeYoung says this, the woman is told to submit herself under her husband. It is a submission freely given, never forcibly taken.

Jocelyn: Oh, I feel like we should put that on a T-shirt. It's so helpful. So many people do not believe that rightly.

Janet: I know. I know.

Jocelyn: Especially like, think about difficult marriage counseling situations we've been involved in, where the whole point of why they're there is because their husband is trying to force the wife to do things.

Janet: Yes. And we'll talk about what she can do in that. But when a husband believes he has the authority and maybe even the obligation to enforce her submission, he's already outside the authority he's been given.

Jocelyn: Just like what Brent was saying, what the example from Brent that you said earlier. Like he's outside the bounds of his authority.

Janet: Yeah. So if Brent looked at me and said, woman, stay out of the kid's bedroom. I will force you to obey me. I'm not gonna listen. I'm in there if I think he's about to hurt a kid. I'm in there. He cannot, and it's not his job. So that's on his end. And now wives, we tend to live out of our idols too.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I don't know if you remember the quote earlier in this episode, it's because every fallen human will use every conceivable point of privilege to their self-righteous advantage. I believe that. Well, she may not have the privilege of authority in the marriage, but she has other tools she can use. She can manipulate. She can use her beauty. She can use her vengeance. She can use her cold shoulder. She can use withholding sex. She can wear him down. But there's a better way. So what in the world, where is the hope? Well, let's start with how do we have right worship? Imagine what it might look like if there was right worship, right purpose, right goals. A husband using his authority to reflect God's values. He's actively looking for ways to serve and love his wife With his authority. He's joyfully choosing to bear the weight of leadership and the decision-making role that he has in a way that blesses, protects and encourages his wife. He's being Christ to her in the marriage. He understands Lehman's quote, that forced decisions are worth little and that the goal would be to elicit decisions made from love and even attraction. And then the wife using her position to encourage his leadership and follow him as a way to emulate the church's response to Christ. She wants him to succeed and flourish. I loved how Kevin DeYoung says, what a blessing to have a wife who gladly follows my tumbling attempts at spiritual leadership.

Jocelyn: That's funny.

Janet: She honored and respected and followed me better than I deserve.

Jocelyn: That's really cool.

Janet: Yeah. But why? Why'd she do that? Because she understood it was her privilege to show the glory of God in how she trusted God and followed her husband. Now with that foundation built. Now they can solve a problem.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Now the logs are removed from both of their eyes. Now they're free to focus on the issue at hand and how they can together make the goal to please God and love each other. And I truly believe in that environment, rarely are you gonna agree to disagree.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that's true.

Janet: And when it's necessary to do that, the husband understand that he bears the weight of that decision. He has to make it. And she understands that her confident trust in God prepares her to follow. And he knows he needs to make it seeking her flourishing.

Jocelyn: And like even if you do get to that rare position where you have to agree to disagree, it's not like you're throwing barbs at each other and you're all irritated.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: It's just like, well, we don't exactly agree. And he bears the weight of that decision.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And so. I can be okay not agreeing and also encouraging him to flourish in his decision-making.

Janet: Yes. And that will be so rare because if you're both committed to the same purpose, even if you have different preferences, you can defer to each other. Like when the goal is the glory of God and the logs are gone, rarely are you gonna do the agree to disagree, but it could happen. Now you get to joyfully focus on your biblical role. And now biblical problem solving in that environment has hope and it shines the power and glory of God in a world that does not do that. So can we at least take a little bit of time? 'cause some of our listeners are going, yeah, but what happens when your authority is not biblical?

Jocelyn: cause to be honest, so much of the authority that we experience will not be biblical.

Janet: No. I'm gonna first talk about in marriage and then in other areas.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: So in marriage, how can I respond with hope and confidence to unbiblical authority? Okay. Again, this is not about our submission primarily, that's another episode, but let's spend a few minutes at least talking about where your hope is. First ensure you've dealt with any log in your own eye. I am not telling you you're responsible for his unbiblical leadership.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: I am saying, are you equating I have no voice with I don't get my way. I at least have to look at that. Our idols deceive us, so we do have to be humbly prayerful about that. Is he being unbiblical or is he just not doing what I want?

Jocelyn: Am I just not happy with it? Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. But assuming you've done that, so we gotta say that. But I realize that's. You could do that.

Jocelyn: And it could still be a difficult. Yeah.

Janet: A problem. Yes. And you're still experiencing the pain of being under a husband who doesn't value you the way we've discussed. Listen to Jesus' words, 1 Peter 2- servants. Be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust for this is a gracious thing. When,-- how? Mindful of God -- not mindful of them, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. What credit is it if when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it, you endure. Oh, that's a gracious thing in the sight of God. Why? For to this you have been called. Why? Because that's how Christ also suffered for you. Leaving you an example so that you might follow in his steps. What did he do? He committed no sin. Neither was deceit found in his mouth and when he was still reviled, he didn't revile in return. When he suffered, he didn't threaten. What did he do? He continued in trusting himself to him who judges justly, and in that bore our sins in his body and by his wounds, I was healed. So what can I do if I'm in that situation? Entrust yourself to God. When you're suffering unjustly, this is your moment to shine. This is when you get to look the most like Jesus. You get to return good for evil. Romans 12:19 to 21, never avenge yourselves. Leave it to the wrath of God. Vengeance is mine. I will repay. So I get to trust God for justice. Nobody gets away with anything.

Jocelyn: And what I think is helpful about that is that it's not just trusting God and allowing the bad stuff to continue. There are practical ways that we can interact.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: With that.

Janet: Yes. And we're gonna talk about those. So what's the strength of loving toward righteousness? Well, it's gonna mean I don't appease. I don't avoid. I don't argue. I move toward them in love. And when it's best for their soul, I involve other people.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: So. What's the temptation? When I'm under authority, how do I appease? How do I keep them happy so I don't have to deal with it? 'cause I just don't wanna deal with it. Or I just avoid it. When he is like that, I'll just talk to him in a few days. Or I argue with him to get my way. God says, love them toward righteousness. If it's sinful. Part of loving them toward righteousness is gonna be expressing my concern. It needs to be out of love, but it will be expressed. I was recently counseling someone in a very difficult situation who'd prayed to surrender her will to God's. That's good. That's beautiful. But I said, what does that mean? It could lead to a very passive response. I'm just gonna wait and see. But God's love is active and it's loving people toward righteousness. We've done a whole podcast on unjust suffering that I commend to you. But part of this will involve involving others.

Jocelyn: And we've also done an episode called Loving Their Soul, which is a very much more developed

Janet: yes

Jocelyn: explanation of this concept. So go back and listen to that one.

Janet: To that one as well. So if I'm loving their soul, I'm saying what's best for their soul? Allowing them to mistreat me is not best for their soul 'cause they're gonna give an account for that.

Jocelyn: No. Right.

Janet: Maybe I don't know what else to do. Involve others.

Jocelyn: Yes, definitely.

Janet: If there's anything legal that they're doing, anything illegal, there's assault, there's threats, there's whatever. Involve authorities. If you're not sure what to do, always talk to your pastor. Involve others and let them shepherd you through that. Go to them for help. They have been given to you as a blessing of biblical authority for your flourishing. They are that person. And we're gonna talk about it in a minute. What if they're not? But that is the purpose of our civil leaders too. If you or someone you know is concerned about safety and oppression and wickedness, call the police. It is not unsubmissive. It's not a failure to be under authority if you don't comply with someone acting outside their authority. I shared that from the beginning. Maybe it's clearer this way. A police officer has the authority to pull me over for speeding. I need to submit to that. He doesn't have the authority to tell me what to make for dinner, and I'm not unsubmissive if I don't listen to that.

Jocelyn: I think that's really helpful because I don't know that that point is well understood.

Janet: I think that's really helpful because I don't know that that point is well understood.

Jocelyn: That it's not unsubmissive to not comply if someone is acting outside of their authority.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: I think like if someone has a position of authority in one area, it can feel like their authority is all pervasive.

Janet: Yes. Jesus, that's true. But not everybody else.

Jocelyn: Only Jesus has all authority.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: He's given pieces of his authority to people to do certain things. But just like you said with Brent, like even he doesn't have authority to make you sin.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: A police doesn't have authority to make you go cook something special for dinner.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: That's not his purview.

Janet: No one has the authority to wickedly, oppress another image bearer. So it's not unsubmissive to go to your pastors, even if your husband's telling you not to. He does not have that authority.

Jocelyn: I think this is interesting to think about a couple other applications outside of marriage too. Like one topic to think about is what if. The pastors or leaders of your church are using their authority to demand things?

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Or if they're using it wickedly. Or if they're oppressing people with it. What are your thoughts about that?

Janet: Yeah, and I think it's an excellent question because we've read what authority should be doing. The pastor should feel the weight of their congregation and they should be doing all they can to support the congregation members so they flourish. If they're using that authority to say, you'll do it my way, because that's who I am. Now, are they a mixed bag at best? Because so am I.

Jocelyn: Sure.

Janet: But if that's their pattern,

Jocelyn: right. That's the habit.

Janet: Where it is oppressive. And even using scripture to say, you must, we've now moved to, they believe they can demand it, which we just talked about. They have the authority of counsel, not the authority of command. They cannot make it happen. So if I'm under that authority, I have to realize I don't have to stay under that. I get to choose where I'm a member. And I would think I would lovingly go to that pastor with my concerns and we may not agree and he may say, no, I believe biblically, I'm the pastor and you gotta do what I say. And I want to come short of saying it would be wrong to stay, but it'd be very difficult for me to have a clear conscience staying under spiritual authority that I know is acting unbiblically by pattern. Not by an instance where we need

Jocelyn: Instance. Yeah.

Janet: forgiveness, but by pattern and not seeing it as a problem. And then what am I teaching my children if I stay under that? That that's what biblical authority looks like. I have, I believe, an obligation to show them truth about what Biblical authority is, and I want them to see the beauty of it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because it's beautiful.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And as painful as it is, I probably need to be looking for a different church.

Jocelyn: I think another example is like a work authority. So how would you handle a situation where your boss is demanding things of you potentially outside of the area that he has authority over you?

Janet: Yeah. First of all, we have to recognize assuming my boss is an unbeliever, his view of authority probably is, I use you to make my life easier. We should probably expect that.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: And be grateful when it doesn't happen. But within that, I can still, he's my boss and he can say, do this, when really, he's being selfish, but I could do it. I can choose to be under unjust, imperfect authority in a way that honors the Lord. But he may be, certainly if he's asking me to do wicked things, unethical, I can't do that.

Jocelyn: Or illegal. Yeah.

Janet: But even short of that, I'm in an oppressive environment where I get to choose. I get to say, do I want to remain under this and shine to my coworkers?

Jocelyn: Which is totally possible.

Janet: Totally. But I can also look for a different job.

Jocelyn: And you don't have to stay there.

Janet: But don't expect your Unbelieving bosses in the world to understand this view of authority. So I just wanna be reasonable. I can't expect that my boss to his own hurt will want to do what will help me flourish. Probably not. But he might be a reasonable man. And if I am with an unreasonable boss, using his authority in ways that are oppressive and harmful. I can choose to look for a different job

Jocelyn: It even applies to like our political leaders of our country. Like we don't have to maintain the same person over us. We can vote them out.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: So there's a lot of cross application outside of marriage. We want you to think big about this.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: What should godly authority look like? And then how do you have the privilege to respond if you are under an authority that's not godly?

Janet: And how can I be that kind of authority wherever I am? Think about, if I'm in a workplace that is unbelievers and my boss is a little unreasonable, not horrendous. I have to leave. But you know, he asked me for things at the last minute 'cause he didn't bother thinking about it. Now I have to do it. And all of that and Okay. And what if then the people under me have a different experience. You know what that means? As a leader, it means I'll getting the worst of all worlds. I'm feeling the weight of leading and I'm feeling the weight of being under someone who's not trying to protect me as a leader. But if I do that, do you know that shines. I mean, what a platform.

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally.

Janet: For the beauty of God's ways.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So we've listed a lot of resources there that will be on the show notes. This is a subject we could talk a whole lot more about.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But if nothing else, I hope you see biblical authority is beautiful. And wherever you have an opportunity to be that authority. Oh, shine.

Jocelyn: Help the people under you to flourish.

Janet: And if there's any authority you're under that does this imperfectly, but does it in some way, thank them because they're feeling a huge weight. Because that's how God designed it.

Jocelyn: I'm so glad we got to talk about this. I think this is a topic that is so spurned by the general population, like authority is just bad. Always reject it.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: You know, dismiss it. Get it out of your life. Cancel it. I've just been so blessed by biblical authority. Blessed by pastors who take the weight of their responsibility seriously.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And help me to flourish in the different roles that I do in our church. And having a husband who takes his authority seriously and leads us well because he wants our whole family to flourish. It's such a blessing.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And I'm excited that we get to hold out the picture of this beautiful blessing. And when we live it God's way, how that is just, it's so Reflecting the values of God.

Janet: Yeah. Excellent. Thanks.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.